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Best American Express credit cards in Canada

Compare the best Amex card picks below to find the best fit for your lifestyle and budget.

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The best American Express credit card for you will depend on what type of benefits you want and how much you’re willing to pay. We’ve compared dozens of the best American Express credit cards in Canada by category — no annual fee, low interest, cash back, Aeroplan, Business Amex and more — to help you make the best choice.

Compare the pros and cons of the best American Express credit cards in Canada and learn more about our top picks below.

What are the best American Express credit cards in Canada?

Best Amex for cash back
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$119.88
Annual fee
Up to 4%
Cash back
$400
Welcome offer
The SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express offers a solid 4% cashback return on all purchases for a reasonable annual fee. You'll also get a generous % cashback welcome bonus when you sign up and you won't have to pay additional fees to add cards to your account. This card also comes with benefits such as purchase protection and comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Welcome offer. Collect % cashback on all purchases in your first four months.
  • High cash back return Earn 4% cash back on all purchases once your welcome offer expires (with no caps on how much you can earn).
  • Comprehensive benefits. Take advantage of benefits such as travel medical, flight and baggage delay insurance, car rental coverage and purchase protection.
  • Annual fee You'll have to pay $119.88 per year to maintain this card.
  • Cap on welcome offer You can only earn up to $ with the % cashback welcome offer.
Annual Fee $119.88
Purchase APR 21.99%
Cash Advance Rate 21.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer In your first 10 months, earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases. This could add up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months.
Rewards Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas station purchases in Canada, 4% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually), and 2% cash back on all other purchases.

Best Amex for no annual fee
SimplyCash Card from American Express

SimplyCash Card from American Express logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 2%
Cash back
$100
Welcome offer
The SimplyCash Card from American Express is a basic no-fee card that lets you earn 1.25% cashback on all purchases (and $100 in your first three months). You'll also get basic insurance such as purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and common carrier insurance when you sign up.
  • No annual fee. Pay no annual fee to maintain this card.
  • Decent cashback for a no-fee card You'll earn a 1.25% cash back return on all purchases with this card, plus $100 in your first three months.
  • Basic benefits. Take advantage of basic insurance such as purchase protection and extended warranty for no additional fee.
  • Cap on welcome offer You can only earn up to $ with the $100 welcome offer.
  • No travel benefits This card doesn't come with additional benefits such as travel medical, car rental insurance or trip/baggage delay insurance.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 21.99%
Cash Advance Rate 21.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer In your first 10 months, earn a $10 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $300 in purchases. This could add up to $100 in statement credits in the first 10 months.
Rewards Earn 2% cash back on eligible gas purchases in Canada, 2% cash back on eligible grocery purchases in Canada (up to $300 cash back annually), and earn 1.25% cash back elsewhere.

Best for low interest
American Express Essential Credit Card

American Express Essential Credit Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
700
Min. credit score
$25
Annual fee
n/a
Rewards
n/a
Welcome offer
The American Express Essential Credit Card gives you a 12.99% interest rate for purchases and cash advances (which is around 7% lower than a traditional credit card). Due to its low interest rates, this card doesn't offer rewards or cashback. However, it does come with basic insurance such as purchase protection, extended warranty and common carrier insurance. You can also sign up with the Amex Plan It program to pay your balance off in regular monthly installments.
  • Low interest. You'll only pay 12.99% interest for purchases and cash advances with this card.
  • Basic benefits. Get basic insurance such as purchase protection and extended warranty for no additional fee.
  • No rewards or cash back You won't earn rewards or cash back with this card since you get a low interest rate.
  • Few benefits You can't take advantage of extra benefits such as travel insurance or car rental coverage with this card.
Annual Fee $25
Purchase APR 12.99%
Cash Advance Rate 12.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards N/A

Best Amex for Aeroplan points
American Express Aeroplan Card

American Express Aeroplan Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$120
Annual fee
Up to 2x
Points
50,000
Points welcome offer
The American Express Aeroplan Card offers a solid return on Aeroplan Points for travel and dining. Earn 2x the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada vacations, 1.5x points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases in Canada, and 1x points on everything else. You can also take advantage of a 50,000 points bonus offer when you meet spend requirements. This charge card also comes with a full suite of travel insurance (but doesn't include travel medical).
  • High return on Aeroplan Point Earn between 2 and 1 Aeroplan Points for every dollar you spend.
  • Welcome offer Collect up to 50,000 Aeroplan Points plus get a bonus companion pass when you spend a certain amount on your card.
  • Comprehensive benefits Take advantage of benefits such as flight and baggage delay insurance, car rental coverage and purchase protection.
  • Annual fee You'll have to pay $120 per year to maintain this card.
  • Must be paid off every month Your balance has to be paid off every month or you'll pay a penalty interest rate
  • No travel medical You won't get travel medical insurance included with this card.
Annual Fee $120
Purchase APR N/A
Cash Advance Rate N/A
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Earn up to 50,000 welcome bonus Aeroplan points. Earn 30,000 Aeroplan points after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 20,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in month 13.
Rewards Earn 2x the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada vacations, 1.5x points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases in Canada, and 1x points on everything else.

Best Amex for everyday rewards
American Express Cobalt Card

American Express Cobalt Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$155.88
Annual fee
Up to 5x
Membership Rewards
15,000
Welcome offer
The American Express Cobalt Card offers a generous return on points for everyday purchases. You can collect points for every dollar you spend on dining out plus 2 points for gas and transit purchases and 1 point for everything else. This card also comes with up to a 15,000 points welcome bonus if you spend a certain amount of money each month. You'll also get a full suite of travel insurance and purchase protection when you sign up.
  • Welcome offer Earn up to 15,000 points in your first few months when you spend a certain amount of money.
  • Accelerated rewards Collect a higher return on rewards when you make dining, gas and transit purchases.
  • Comprehensive benefits Take advantage of benefits such as travel medical, flight and baggage delay insurance, car rental coverage and purchase protection.
  • Annual fee You'll have to pay $155.88 per year to maintain this card.
Annual Fee $155.88
Purchase APR 21.99%
Cash Advance Rate 21.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Earn up to 15,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 1,250 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases. That’s up to $150 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
Rewards Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery (spend cap applies), 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada, 2x points on eligible ride shares, transit & gas in Canada, 1 additional point on eligible hotel and car rental bookings via American Express Travel Online, and 1x point for every $1 in purchases everywhere else.

Best Amex for luxury hotel perks
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$120
Annual fee
Up to 5x
Points
50,000
Points welcome offer
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card lets you earn accelerated rewards for staying at Marriott Bonvoy properties. You can also take advantage of a 50,000 points welcome bonus when you sign up and meet the spend requirements. As an added benefit, this card comes with hotel perks such as an annual free one night stay and a complimentary upgrade to Silver Elite status. You'll also get a full suite of travel insurance and purchase protection when you sign up.
  • Welcome offer Earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you charge $1,500 in purchases to your card in the first three months. Subject to change at any time.
  • Accelerated rewards Collect a higher return on rewards when you make dining, gas and transit purchases.
  • Comprehensive benefits Take advantage of benefits such as travel medical, flight and baggage delay insurance, car rental coverage and purchase protection.
  • Annual fee You'll have to pay $120 per year to maintain this card.
Annual Fee $120
Purchase APR 21.99%
Cash Advance Rate 21.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you charge $1,500 in purchases to your card in the first three months. Subject to change at any time.
Rewards Earn 5 points per $1 spent at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, and 2 points per $1 spent elsewhere.

Best overall Amex for business
American Express Business Edge Card

American Express Business Edge Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$99
Annual fee
Up to 3x
Membership Rewards
45,000
Welcome offer
The American Express Business Edge Card lets you earn a high return on points for eligible business purchases. You'll get 3 points for every dollar you spend on dining, gas and business supplies (plus 1 point per dollar for everything else). This card also comes with a welcome bonus worth up to 45,000 points, plus an extra 1000 points for every month you spend $3,000 or more. You'll also get purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and car rental insurance when you sign up.
  • Welcome offer Earn up to 45,000 points in your first three months when you spend a certain amount of money.
  • Accelerated rewards for business purchases. Collect 3x the points when you make eligible business purchases (including gas, dining and business supplies).
  • Comprehensive benefits
  • Annual fee You'll have to pay $99 per year to maintain this card.
  • Limited benefitsYou won't get additional benefits such as travel medical, baggage/trip delay insurance or common carrier insurance with this card.
Annual Fee $99
Purchase APR 21.99%
Cash Advance Rate 21.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Earn up to 67,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 45,000 Welcome Bonus points when you charge $5,000 in purchases to your Card in your first three months, and earn 1,000 Membership Rewards points each month (a total of 12,000 annually) when you spend a minimum of $3,000 on eligible purchases. Plus, earn 10x the points for every $1 spent on eligible business essentials including office supplies & electronics, rides & gas, eats & drinks within 6 months of Cardmembership (up to a maximum of 10,000 points).
Rewards Earn 10x the points for every $1 spent on eligible business essentials including office supplies & electronics, rides & gas, eats & drinks within 6 months of Cardmembership (up to a maximum of 10,000 points). Earn 3 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible business essentials including office supplies, electronics, rides, gas, eats and drinks (up to an annual earn of 75,000 Membership Rewards), and earn 1 Membership Reward point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

Best Amex business card for rewards
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card

American Express Business Gold Rewards Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$199
Annual fee
Up to 1x
Membership Rewards
110,000
Welcome offer
The American Express Business Gold Rewards Card is a card that gives you a high return on points. Earn 1 Membership Rewards point for every $1 spent on purchases. You can also take advantage of up to 55 days interest free when you pay off your balance in full each month. You'll earn even more with a sizable sign up bonus. You'll also get an extensive suite of travel insurance to sweeten the deal even further.
  • High return. Earn 1 Membership Rewards point for every $1 spent on purchases..
  • Welcome bonus. Earn up to 110,000 Membership Rewards points. Earn a Welcome Bonus of 70,000 points after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn 10,000 bonus points when you charge $20,000 in net purchases to your card each calendar quarter (that's a total of 40,000 points a year).
  • Interest-free days. Enjoy up to 55 days interest free when you pay off your balance in full each month.
  • Basic benefits. Lock in purchase protection and extended warranty coverage on items you buy with your card.
  • Travel benefits. Get a comprehensive suite of travel benefits, including coverage for flight delays, lost baggage, car rentals and more.
  • Travel coverage. Access Travel Emergency Assistance, and up to $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance, Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance, Flight Delay Insurance and Baggage Delay Insurance when you fully charge your tickets to your card. Plus, save money when travelling with complimentary Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance.
  • Employee coverage. Protect your eligible purchases against accidental physical damage and theft for up to 90 days with Purchase Protection Plan. Plus, double the manufacturer’s original warranty up to 1 additional year with the Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan.
  • High annual fee. The annual fee for this card is $199, which is higher than what you'll pay for similar credit cards.
  • Fees for additional cards. You'll have to pay $50 for every additional card you order, which can add up if you want to hand them out to multiple employees.
  • Not as widely accepted overseas. It might be difficult to use your card overseas, since it won't be accepted in some locations.
Annual Fee $199
Purchase APR N/A
Cash Advance Rate N/A
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Earn up to 110,000 Membership Rewards points. Earn a Welcome Bonus of 70,000 points after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn 10,000 bonus points when you charge $20,000 in net purchases to your card each calendar quarter (that's a total of 40,000 points a year).
Rewards Earn 1 Membership Rewards point for every $1 spent on purchases.

How do I choose the best American Express credit card?

Compare the following features to find the best card for your needs:

  • Return on points or cash back. Find out what kind of return you’ll get on cash back or points when you spend money on your Amex card (and in which categories).
  • Welcome offers. Compare the bonus offers for several American Express credit cards as these can sometimes give you a year’s worth of points or more.
  • Perks and benefits. Figure out which benefits and perks you think you’ll actually use and get the card that aligns best with your lifestyle.
  • Interest rates. Decide whether you will likely carry an outstanding balance on your card and aim for the lowest interest rate possible if this is the case.
  • Annual fee. Do the math to figure out if paying an annual fee is worth the higher return you’ll get on points and benefits.

Types of American Express credit cards

American Express Canada offers a large selection of rewards cards such as Amex Rewards Points cards and frequent flyer cards. It also offers a selection of cash back cards.

Amex Cash back cards

Amex offers two main cash back cards: the SimplyCash and the SimplyCash Preferred Card. The SimplyCash card may be a good fit for you if you don’t want to pay an annual fee and you don’t mind getting a lower cash back return and fewer benefits. Consider the SimplyCash Preferred Card if you would prefer comprehensive travel benefits and you can live with the $119.88 per year price tag.

Typical benefits of Amex cash back cards
  • Cash back on everyday purchases. You’ll earn between 1.25% and 4% cash back on all of your purchases, depending on which card you pick.
  • Generous welcome bonuses. Collect $100 cashback in your first 3 months with the SimplyCash Card and % in your first 10 months with the SimplyCash Preferred Card.
  • No limits on cash back. There are no limits to how much cash back you can earn with either card (except for welcome bonus rates).
  • Basic insurance. Both cards offer purchase protection, extended warranty and common carrier insurance (plus you’ll get travel insurance with the SimplyCash Preferred card).

Amex Membership rewards cards

American Express offers a wide variety of membership rewards credit cards that let you earn Amex Points for every dollar you spend. The only Amex rewards card that comes with no annual fee is the American Express Green Card. The other three cards come with a comprehensive suite of benefits and an annual fee that varies between $155.88 and $799.

Typical benefits of Amex rewards cards
  • Accelerated rewards. You’ll get an accelerated return on rewards for making dining, gas, transit or travel purchases (depending on which card you have).
  • Large welcome bonuses. Membership rewards cards come with sizable welcome bonuses worth between 12,500 and 15,000 bonus points.
  • Comprehensive travel benefits. You’ll get travel benefits such as travel medical, baggage insurance and car rental insurance with premium rewards cards.

Amex Travel cards (frequent flyer and hotels)

American Express offers a wide selection of frequent flyer and hotel credit cards that will help you travel for less. It primarily offers basic and premium Aeroplan for frequent flyers. Amex also partners with Marriott Bonvoy to offer a premium card that rewards travellers who stay regularly with its luxury-brand hotels. Most premium travel cards also come with a wide array of travel benefits and a decent return on points.

Typical benefits of Amex travel cards
  • Program-specific rewards. Earn a decent return on program-specific rewards such as frequent flyer points or Marriott Bonvoy points.
  • Generous welcome bonuses. Earn between 500 and 85,000 bonus points or miles when you sign up, depending on which card you pick and how much you pay annually.
  • Unique travel perks. Enjoy travel perks with certain premium cards such as airline credits, free companion passes, airport lounge access and more.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance. Get comprehensive travel insurance with most premium travel cards.
American Express frequent flyer and hotel cards

Amex No Annual Fee cards

You can sign up for a limited range of fee-free American Express credit cards. These cards tend to come with fewer benefits and a lower return on rewards in return for no annual fee. Amex offers a selection of cash back, membership rewards and low interest credit cards with no annual fee.

Typical benefits of Amex No Fee Cards
  • No annual fee. You won’t have to pay an annual fee with any of these cards.
  • Decent return on rewards. You’ll earn a decent return on rewards and cash back in comparison to fee-free cards from other providers.
  • Basic insurance. You’ll get purchase protection, extended warranty and common carrier insurance with the majority of Amex’s no annual fee credit cards.
  • Many card types. You can get a fee-free version of almost every type of card that Amex offers (except for its Aeroplan and hotel credit cards).
American Express fee-free cards

Amex Small business cards

Amex offers a competitive selection of business credit cards with an impressive range of benefits and rewards. It offers its business cards as either charge cards or credit cards and fees range from $0 to $599 per year. Many cards offer accelerated rewards for business expenses and the more expensive cards tend to come with a wide array of travel perks.

Typical benefits of Amex business cards
  • Membership and travel rewards. Most Amex business cards let you earn membership points or program-specific rewards (such as Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy).
  • Welcome offers. You can earn between 150 and 65,000 points when you sign up depending on which card you choose and how much you pay for your annual fee.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance. Many of Amex’s more premium business cards come with a full suite of travel insurance (including travel medical, baggage/flight delay coverage and car rental insurance).
  • Travel benefits. You can qualify for a handful of travel perks such as priority boarding and lounge access with a small selection of premium business cards.

American Express credit cards with travel insurance

Typical features and benefits of an American Express card:

  • American Express offers a number of products and services with its cards. These are branded as Amex benefits and apply to most credit cards across the board.
  • Front of the line. Get pre-sale access and pick from reserved Amex seats for certain ticketed events (usually advertised on Amex website).
  • Amex offers. Choose offers from brands you love and earn statement credits or bonus points for qualifying purchases.
  • Hotel Collection. Stay two or more consecutive nights with participating properties and receive up to a US$100 hotel credit (only available with some credit cards).
  • Fraud protection guarantee. Enjoy no-fault protection in case of fraudulent purchases made on your credit card.
  • Emergency card replacement. Get a new card sent out to you as soon as you report your card missing or stolen, even if you’re travelling.
  • 24/7 customer service. Call Amex at any time of day or night to get dedicated support with your account.

American Express rewards program

Amex offers membership rewards (also called Amex Points) as well as cash back. It also works with frequent flyer programs and hotels to let you earn points with specific loyalty programs. This table highlights which American Express credit cards let you earn specific types of rewards.

Personal cards
Membership rewardsAmerican Express Cobalt Card

The Platinum Card from American Express

American Express Green Card

Cash backSimplyCash Card from American Express

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

AeroplanAmerican Express Aeroplan Card

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

Marriott BonvoyMarriott Bonvoy American Express Card
Business cards
Membership rewardsAmerican Express Business Edge Card

American Express Business Gold Rewards Card

Business Platinum Card from American Express

AeroplanAmerican Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
Marriott BonvoyMarriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

How does American Express concierge work?

American Express’ concierge service is a type of live personal assistant you gain access to when you become an eligible card-member. You have access to this service day or night from wherever you are in the world. By calling the concierge number or emailing the Amex concierge email address, you can ask your concierge assistant to perform a variety of tasks. And these services are always free of charge.

What kinds of things can Amex concierge in Canada do?

While Amex’s concierge service is separated into five different options when you call them up, they’re quite flexible within these categories. Here are a few examples of what Amex concierge can whip up for you:

  • Event and dining booking. A rather traditional use of concierge services, you can request Amex nab a seating at your favorite restaurant or purchase concert tickets, even if the event is happening the same day.
  • Gifts. Need some surprise flowers delivered? Or need an idea on what chocolates are hottest in town? Ask your concierge service and they can find a suitable gift for the recipient.
  • Travel. If you need some flights booked for your next business trip, Amex concierge can help you find the perfect flight based on your specifications and preferences. This extends to other travel plans, including hotels and transportation needs. In fact, your concierge service can book your entire itinerary.
  • Recommendations. One of the most useful parts of the Amex concierge service is the time and research they can perform on your behalf. Whether it’s a cheap flight. a great place for birdwatching, or finding a local doctor, you can assign your needs out to the concierge service like homework (thought you might want to double check their work before jumping in).

How to use American Express concierge service

  1. Call 800-525-3355 or international call collect number 617-622-6756.
  2. Depending on your needs, use:
    • Event tickets. Option 1
    • Dining. Option 2
    • Gifts. Option 3
    • Travel. Option 4
    • Card services. Option 5
  3. Make your request.

Note: If you have previously used the service, you can make your request at platinumrequests@concierge.americanexpress.com or call the number on the back of your card and say, Concierge.

Does American Express have car rental insurance?

Most American Express credit cards in Canada offer car rental theft and damage insurance.

You’ll typically find $85,000 in maximum coverage toward the value of the rental vehicle.

It also covers some additional charges, including loss of use and appraisal fees. Policies from some other providers don’t cover loss of use, so it’s a nice inclusion with Amex’s policy.

How long does Amex car rental insurance cover me for?

Amex car rental insurance covers you for 48 days or less after you enter into a rental agreement.

What does Amex car rental insurance not cover?

There are several instances in which Amex car rental insurance might not apply. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Using the rental car in violation of the rental agreement.
  • Engaging in illegal activity and driving while intoxicated.
  • Driving certain types of vehicles, such as cargo vans, leased vehicles and limousines.
  • Intentional damage to the car, manufacturing defects, theft or damage as a result of your failure to secure the vehicle and more.

How to use American Express car rental insurance

  1. Before renting a vehicle, read your American Express car rental theft and damage insurance plan.
  2. Pay for your entire rental with a valid Amex payment method and decline the coverage from the car rental agency.
  3. In the event of a theft, accident or act of vandalism, immediately notify law enforcement of the incident.
  4. Call the Amex benefit administrator at 1-800-200-8959.
  5. If necessary, fill out and return the claim form, along with the requested supporting information, within 60 days. Required details may include — but aren’t limited to — an itemized repair bill, photos of vehicle damage, proof of your personal insurance and proof you paid for your rental with an eligible Amex payment method.

How long will it take to receive payment?

If the Amex benefit administrator approves your claim, you’ll receive payment within 90 days after you submit the required information.

How to activate Amex Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

Here’s how activated coverage is defined:

  • You decline the coverage from the rental car company or purchase a partial collision damage waiver.
  • You or an authorized driver is on the rental agreement, and the vehicle comes into your possession.
  • You pay for the entire rental with your Amex card. This includes any deposits you must make when you collect the vehicle.

American Express cash advances

If you own an American Express credit card, you can get cash from an ATM or a bank teller should you need it. But because the cash comes from the credit line of your card, it comes with hefty fees and interest. This makes it an expensive option, which you should use only in emergencies.

How to get an American Express cash advance

You must first have an American Express card to get an American Express cash advance. Once you have the card, here’s what to do:

  1. Call 1-800-567-2639 and request a PIN if your card doesn’t have one.
  2. Go to a participating ATM and use your card.
  3. Enter the amount you want to withdraw.

Note that your card may have a cash advance limit and these limits can differ between cards. Look for your card’s cash advance limit on your billing statement. Also, be aware that you can’t earn points or rewards through cash advances.

American Express cash advance rates and fees

American Express credit cards charge a cash advance fee which varies by card and is separate to any ATM-related fees. You will also be charged a cash advance rate similar to most major credit cards, with the exception of the American Express Essential Card which charges one of the lowest cash advance rates in Canada at 12.99%.

Here are some popular American Express credit cards and their cash advance rates:

  • American Express Cobalt Card 21.99%
  • American Express AIR MILES Credit Card 21.99%
  • Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card 21.99%
  • American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card 21.99%
  • American Express Essential Credit Card 12.99%

Example: You make a $500 ATM cash withdrawal using your Amex credit card. You’ll pay a $25 cash advance fee as soon as you make the transaction. Some ATMs may charge an additional $3 fee.

If you pay it off in 30 days, you would accrue around $9 interest. This makes your $500 cash withdrawal cost $534.

Example based on 5% cash advance fee and 22.9% cash advance APR.

American Express vs Mastercard

American Express and Mastercard are both credit card networks, but only American Express is a credit card issuer. Mastercard doesn’t issue its cards directly, instead issuing them through banks and credit unions. American Express does issue its cards directly. This difference plays a role in their product offerings and fees.

Another key difference is that American Express credit cards are generally geared towards people with higher credit scores and incomes while Mastercard offers cards at all levels, including student and credit builder cards.

Compare the standard benefits of American Express vs Mastercard credit cards

Check out the table below to see standard benefits. Though you might see a green check mark in a few spaces, you might not find the respective perk in your chosen card. Keep in mind that these features depend on the specific card and may not be included on every card.

Hover over the symbols to see details about each perk.

American ExpressMastercard
Extended warrantyxcheckmark
Purchase protectioncheckmarkcheckmark
Price protectionxcheckmark
Car rental insurancecheckmarkcheckmark
Global Assist Hotline/Mastercard Global Servicecheckmarkcheckmark
24/7 Customer servicecheckmarkcheckmark
Travel accident insurancecheckmarkcheckmark
Zero liability for unauthorized purchasescheckmarkcheckmark

Amex vs Mastercard: Which should I choose?

Because these networks are so similar, it’s difficult to make a general verdict as one may fit your specific needs better than the other.

To make your own verdict, take a look at the specific contrasts that might stand out depending on your lifestyle, spending habits and tastes.

A few notables include:

  • Intro APRs.
    Consider both networks for top-notch intro APRs.
  • Airfare and hotel rewards.
    Both Amex and Mastercard offer strong rewards in these fields.
  • Travel products.
    Amex is particularly strong in travel, offering a few attractive hotel cards.
  • Acceptance.
    Mastercard has a significant lead in merchant acceptance, especially abroad.

How to apply for an American Express credit card in Canada

You can apply for an American Express credit card online in around 10 minutes. You’ll just need to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements and have all the relevant documents on hand.

Eligibility criteria

To apply for American Express credit cards in Canada, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years old or the age of majority in your province or territory.
  • Be a Canadian resident with a Canadian credit file.
  • Own a business if you plan to apply for a business credit card.
  • Information you will need for your application

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you’ll need to submit the following documents:

  • Personal information. You’ll need to provide personal details including your full name, email address, phone number and residential address.
  • Valid form of ID. You’ll need to supply a piece of government-issued ID such as your driver’s licence or a copy of your passport.
  • Financial and employment information. You may be asked to provide tax documents, pay stubs or employment letters to show that you’re in a decent financial position and can make your repayments on time.
  • Credit score. You could be required to submit to a credit check as a condition of getting approved for an American Express credit card.

Compare Amex credit cards and apply securely

American Express offers a variety of credit cards that cater to both individuals and business owners. Whether you are a frequent traveller, a small business owner or a big spender, there are credit cards to suit different lifestyles and spending habits. Be sure to compare your options before applying for a credit card, since there are so many different products on the market.

How do I activate my American Express card?

Once your American Express credit card arrives in the mail, your next step is to activate it. You can do this online, by phone or through the Amex mobile app. Whichever option you choose, the card activation process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. You can use your Amex card immediately after you activate it. To verify that your card has been activated, you can check the status of your Amex card in your online account or in the mobile app.

Activate your Amex card online

American Express cards don’t require you to enrol in an Amex online banking service before activation. To activate:

  1. Visit the American Express card portal.
  2. Enter your 4-digit card ID and 15-digit credit card number (as shown in the steps provided on the portal).
  3. Enter any requested personal information to verify your ID and confirm.

Activate by phone

Activate your card by phone in two steps:

  1. Call the number on the back of your card or 1-800-869-3016.
  2. Provide the required credit card and your personal information.

Activate through the mobile app

Another option is to activate your American Express card using the Amex mobile app.

  1. Download the Amex mobile app from the Google Play or Apple App Store. Or you can text MOBILE to 297687 to receive a link to download the Amex App on your phone.
  2. Tap to register for a new Online services account.
  3. Scan your card or enter the card’s information manually.
  4. Verify your identity.

How does American Express keep my credit card information secure?

American Express protects your personal and financial information with physical and technical features. It encrypts any sensitive information you send online and will automatically log out of your account if it’s inactive for a certain period of time.

Fraud protection is also available and Amex will send you notifications about irregular or suspicious transactions on your account. It may also verify your identity before allowing you to make a purchase to confirm that you’re actually the one using the card.

Full list of Amex credit card reviews

Bottom line on Amex credit cards

American Express offers a number of different options for credit cards and charge cards. The best Amex card for you will depend on how much you want to spend, what benefits you want to get and whether you want to earn points or cash back. Find out more about which cards Amex offers and compare your options to find the best fit for you.

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